On May 10-11, 2016, the CosmoQuest team had their face-to-face kick-off meeting for the new improved CosmoQuest collaboration. Pamela’s post introduced the team strategies, so here I’ll report on the meetings and activities!
We met at the retro-space-themed Moonrise Hotel in St. Louis, just across the river from SIUE in Edwardsville, IL, for two days of team-building and planning. This wasn’t your ordinary meeting though – we wanted to develop a community focused on collaboration and respect, and create a safe place to fail, learn and try again.
Overall, the goal of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for individual team members to meet and get to know one another. We also wanted to develop strategies for tackling complex challenges, as many of the tasks we’re attempting have never been tried before.
We experienced working together as large diverse team in the Ping-Pong Challenge, where we learned to develop estimation processes and priorities, and the importance of iteration as a tool to improving outcomes. We used the task of Lego rovers (which was great fun as well) to learn how to choose and prioritize possible options, and how to maximize benefit out of limited time and resources.
Through these and several other activities, we developed an atmosphere of trust and safety, where all opinions were valued and respected, and where it’s permissible to fail. We’re daring mighty things here at CosmoQuest, and so sometimes we’re going to fail, but unless we have the freedom to dream big and try ideas that might seem overwhelming, we might miss some amazing opportunities to do fantastic science and inspire a whole generation of students.
We also had many of our wonderful advisors present, who provide us with years of expertise in the various areas we’re working. Scientists, museum directors, software developers, educators, and community builders, they all came to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with us, to enable our programs and outreach to be as effective as possible.
All in all, we had an enjoyable and productive meeting, where we got to know each other and figured out how we can all work together to accomplish the mighty goals of CosmoQuest! Now, on to mighty things!